Monday, June 15, 2009

Hockey Heaven

“In Detroit they call it Hockeytown, in Pittsburgh we call it Hockey Heaven!”

Those words led off a rowdy victory parade by the Pittsburgh Penguins in downtown Pittsburgh today. What an atmosphere to be at today at Stanwix Street, the end of the parade. I was in attendance today, and although I was a little farther back in the pack it was worth the two and a half hours I waited for the parade to start.

Going to the parade I thought there was no way that this could compare to the Steelers Super Bowl parade a few months earlier, but I was dead wrong. There was just as many people there today than there was back in February.

Per the PG, an estimated 375,000 people were at the parade today. That would best the Steelers Super Bowl parade. Simply amazing.

I would just like to say that the city and the Penguins did a much better job this time of the parade than the Steelers. There was a big screen behind the stage that showed what Channel 11 was broadcasting so that everyone could see the festivities, even if they couldn’t see the stage. The sound system was much better, and the entire time they showed highlights and played music. Great job.

What I was so impressed with was the interaction with the fans. Jordan Staal, Max Talbot, Bill Guerin, Dan Bylsma along with many more were out of the car, interacting with fans, signing autographs and taking pictures. Players were grabbing signs from fans and holding them up.

All of the players were just in awe of the whole situation. At one point Max Talbot was sitting beside Bill Guerin on a truck and he said “we are on the big screen!” Just pure elation from the players.

Steigy was the lead speaker and just hearing how excited he was just made the place go nuts. Chants of Mario rained down as he was the first to speak followed by Shero and Bylsma. Bing was the first to speak and then Billy Guerin come to the mic. “One more year, one more year, one more year” was chanted by all in attendance. The best part of the chant was seeing Jordan Staal chanting the same thing on the screen.

Geno Malkin came up and the first thing he did was turn to Billy and say “one more year.” That is what it is all about.

People throwing footballs, hitting balls with players names on it, balls with “Hossa Sucks” on it was going on the whole time.

The Hey Song was busted out for the last time as Bing and Flower came through with the Stanley Cup. Here it is:

All in all a great experience. Way to go Pens!

Playoff Notes:

A great collection put together by James Mirtle on the front pages from papers around the nation.

The Penguins visited PNC Park yesterday.

Sid should be alright in a few weeks.

Who is going to stick around next year?

The draft order is set for the NHL draft which is soon upcoming.

Zetterberg did not like that Sidney Crosby did not shake some hands on Friday night.

No link for this one, but it is via ESPN Radio on Mike and Mike in the morning, the Penguins are one of four cities in the past 30 years to hold titles in two different sports in the same calendar year. Pittsburgh has done it twice as has Los Angeles (twice), Boston (twice), and New York.

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